The enormous crater was caused by a very large meteorite that split in two pieces before crashing into Earth.
The meteorites were each 10 kilometers wide and scientists believe they hit our planet around the area that is now known as the Warburton basin.
Andrew Glikson, professor at Australian National University and one of the lead researchers involved in the study, explained that the Warburton basin must have been populated by many life forms at the time of the devastating impact.
The researchers found the evidence of the collision in the form of two very big marks in the earth.
The craters were found buried deep in the ground, approximately 3 km deep in the Earth’s mantle. The asteroid impact zones extend more than 190 km wide and almost 30 km deep. These very deep holes encompass part of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
One of the eastern asteroid impact zone marks was discovered in 2013 when researchers were involved in geothermal drilling in that area. They found traces of rocks turned into glass due to an extreme shock.
The scientists were extremely excited by the discovery that spanned 200 kilometers and of which they believed could be the third-largest impact zones ever discovered on Earth.
The discovery made the headlines and scientists all over the world found themselves fascinated by it.
Glikson said that he had been aware that a second scar might exist in the west of the basin. The presumed that this scar might have similar magnetic and seismic signatures as the one discovered in 2013, but there weren’t sufficient tests to determine whether or not that was true.
But after thorough investigation, the second scar proved to have been caused by the same meteorite hitting the Earth.
The researchers published their recent findings in the journal Tectonophysics.
After they linked the second scar to the same asteroid, the estimation of the size of the impact doubled to 400 km, which four times more than the impact zone created by the meteorite that struck the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, which is believed to have been responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs.
The scientists refer to this event as the “KT extinction event” and believe it was one of the most devastating asteroid impacts in the history of our planet.
But that could change with this recent discovery. The researchers believe that this giant asteroid may have been more devastating than the one from Mexico and may have been responsible for an even greater extinction on Earth.
However, the scientists’ main concern at the moment is to determine when these kilometers-wide asteroids hit the Earth.
Usually, scientists determine the age of an asteroid using the plume of ash that covered the atmosphere following huge impacts.
But in this case, the researchers have not found any evidence of ashes in the rock around the Warburton basin, rocks that are believed to be between 300 and 600 million years old.
Glikson explained that they have not found any extinction events that they could link to these massive collisions. The researcher suspects that the impact could be more than 300 million years old.
If they could find an answer to these questions, it could lead to some new theories regarding the origins of our planet.
According to Glikson, large impact zones like the ones recently discovered may play a much more important role in the Earth’s evolution than scientists previously believed.
According to the scientists, some of the largest asteroid impact zones on Earth include:
The one in South Africa, South-West of Johannesburg, which is known as the Vredefort Dome and was created approximately 2,000 million years ago. The experts refer to this at the oldest crater created by either an asteroid or a comet that struck the Earth. The scientists believe this is the site with the largest energy release in the history of our planet.
The second most important crater created by an asteroid impact is the Chicxulub crater found in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. The scientists believe the asteroid impact caused devastating earthquakes, megatsunamis, firestorms and huge aerosol clouds.
Image Source: natureworldreport
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